Tour Down Under stage six: McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill (151.5km)
Wout Poels finished second on the final stage of Tour Down Under to seal third overall as Richie Porte took the honours on Willunga Hill.
Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer 15.4.18 Wout Poels beim AGR 2018
Poels worked hard to break the Porte monopoly on the iconic climb, but despite a strong game plan and excellent support from Kenny Elissonde and Dylan van Baarle in particular, Poels was overtaken by the former Team Sky rider in the final kilometre.
Daryl Impey finished third to top the General Classification, with previous race leader Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) dropped on the final ascent of WIllunga, clearly still suffering from the injuries sustained in the closing kilometres of stage five.
After an early breakaway failed to sustain their advantage as the ascent to Willunga Hill started, the Team Sky duo of Elissonde and Poels tested the water with an attack over the summit, however the pair eased up on the descent.
This let up was short-lived however as Van Baarle then led the way with a fierce tempo on the second climb of Willunga which prevented any attacks from the other GC contenders, Elissonde then broke free of the leaders and allowed Poels to bridge to him and launch his decisive attack.
Porte was the only rider able to match Poels and the pair were inseparable until the Australian rider kicked on again and sealed his sixth successive stage win on this climb.
@ Team SKY
Anmerkung Gerhard Plomitzer:
Ich frage mich, wäre es nicht besser gewesen, auf die Attacke bei der ersten Passage des Willunga Hills zu verzichten und so die Kräfte für den Schlußanstieg zu sparen?
Es waren noch 20km bei teils Gegenwind zu fahren. Bei der Attacke bei der erstmaligen Bezwingung des Willunga Hills fuhr Kelly Elissonde vor Wout Poels über die Bergwertung, wäre die Reihenfolge Poels vor Elissonde gewesen, wäre Wout Poels auch Sieger in der Bergwertung geworden, so lag er punktemäßig gleichauf mit Jason Lea, der so die Bergwertung gewinnen konnte. Aber dem jungen Australier vom Team UNISA-Australia sei dieser Erfolg gegönnt und Team SKY hatte sicherlich nur den Etappensieg bzw. Rundfahrtsieg vor Augen.
Wout Poels is hoping to start his 2019 season with a bang at the Tour Down Under.
Poels will lead the Team Sky charge in the first race of the campaign and the Dutchman has been working hard over the winter to be ready for 2019’s curtain raiser.
Currently training in Brisbane with teammates Dylan van Baarle and Pavel Sivakov, Wout has been enjoying acclimatising to the Australian summer.
“Normally we would arrive two days before a race but of course with the time difference, plus the fact it’s full summer over here, it made sense to come out here for two weeks before the race starts. It’s good, especially with the weather – it’s important to acclimatise. Today it was 30, 32 degrees, and it’s humid – so we’re sweating a lot!
“I’ve never done the Tour Down Under and I’ve always thought it’s an interesting race to do. I started to think about it last year, spoke to Tim [Kerrison], and I think it’s a nice goal to start the season with.”
Wout, Pavel and Dylan will travel to Adelaide on the 10th of January to meet up with the rest of the team’s Tour Down Under squad.
“You’re never too sure what to expect from the first race of the season,” explained Poels, “but I’ve been training well. The whole winter went to plan. Hopefully we can do something nice at TDU – that’s the goal. We will see.”
After the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Poels will head back to Europe and is likely to tackle the Volta ao Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico, before attacking the Ardennes.
Since winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2016 – Team Sky’s first Monument victory – Poels has not been able to hit the Ardennes at 100%. After being forced to skip them due to a knee injury in 2017, 2018 was only a little better – Amstel Gold was his first race back after breaking his collarbone at Paris-Nice.
“I love racing the Ardennes,” continued Poels, “although it wasn’t the easiest first block back after a broken collarbone last year!
“I always have a few key goals for the season. I’d like to really do well in the Ardennes Classics – that’s important to me – but I always like to do well in all of the races I start.
“Of course I would like to get selected for the Tour again, to support the boys there, but I’ll try to be good everywhere I start.
“People like to have one clear target but I never look at it like that. New year, new season – I have to smash it everywhere!”